New Delhi (NVI) India has protested to the US after the American Navy carried out ‘Freedom of Navigation Operations’ within India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the Lakshadweep Islands without permission.
External Affairs Ministry said the passage of USS John Paul Jones was “continuously monitored” while it transited from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits.
The revelation was made earlier in the day when the US Navy said its 7th Fleet conducted “Freedom of Navigation Operations within India’s exclusive economic zone off the Lakshadweep Islands without India’s permission.”
“On April 7, 2021 (local time), the USS John Paul Jones asserted navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, inside India’s exclusive economic zone, without requesting India’s prior consent, consistent with international law. India requires prior consent for military exercises or manoeuvres in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, a claim inconsistent with international law,” said a statement by the US 7th Fleet Public Affairs.
Commenting on the development, the External Affairs Ministry, in a statement, said India’s stated position on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is that the Convention “does not authorise other States to carry out in the Exclusive Economic Zone and on the continental shelf, military exercises or manoeuvres, in particular those involving the use of weapons or explosives, without the consent of the coastal state.”
It said, “We have conveyed our concerns regarding this passage through our EEZ to the Government of USA through diplomatic channels.”
At the same time, the MEA said the USS John Paul Jones was “continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits.”
The development is significant since the US move comes despite India being a strategic ally and a military partner, bilaterally as well as under the framework of Quad grouping, which also includes Japan and Australia.